American realism
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AMERICAN REALISM PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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AMERICAN REALISM. 1865-1910. Objectives/Goals for this Unit. RL 11.1: Cite strong and thorough evidence to support analysis of what the text specifically says as well as inferences RI 11.2: Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over a text .

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Objectives/Goals for this Unit

  • RL 11.1: Cite strong and thorough evidence to support analysis of what the text specifically says as well as inferences

  • RI 11.2: Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over a text.

  • RL 11.3: Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).

  • RL 11.6: Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the context and style of a text

Objectives cont.

  • RI 11.3: Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events – and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop – cause/effect, definition?, problem/cause, etc.

  • RI 11.6. Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is effective. Analyze style and content for power, persuasion, and/or beauty.

Lit Terms for Unit

  • Author’s Point of view

  • Purpose

  • The author’s point of view is his feeling, opinion, or belief about his topic (different from narrator POV).

  • The author’s purpose (a.k.a., author’s intent) is his reason for writing.  - entertain, persuade, inform/educate,

  • Central idea

  • Author’s Choices

  • Author’s Style

  • The central idea is like a thesis statement in an essay; it is a statement of your main points.

  • author's deliberate selection of stylistic devices in order to present his ideas

  • author's style - the choices the author made regarding diction, syntax, tone, imagery, POV, etc.

  • Diction

  • Syntax

  • Deliberate choice of words

  • Sentence structure of a text.

More History

  • The industrial revolution took place at the end of the 19th century and changed the country in many ways.

  • People left the country and went to the city to live.

  • With new machinery and equipment, the economy focused on factories. Farming was no longer relied on so heavily.

  • The immigration boom occurred. People worldwide flocked to the USA.

Characteristics of Realism Literature

  • Setting, Tone, and Motifs

  • Characterization and Theme

  • They drew on the grim realities of life in poor urban areas, bleak, despairing tones, and motifs about the breakdown of traditional values.

  • characters were ordinary, everyday people. Plot was about everyday existence. Themes on the complexities of the human experience.

Literary Wars

  • Verbal wars were waged over the ways that fictional characters were presented in relation to their external world.

  • Using plot and character development, a writer stated his/her philosophy about how much control mankind has over his destiny

American realists believed that humanity’s freedom of choice was limited by the power of outside forces.

A person has choices and some freewill, but environment and others can hamper those choices

American naturalists supported the determinism movement.

They argued that individuals have no choice because a person’s life was dictated by heredity and the external environment.

American Realists vs. American Naturalists

Realism vs. Naturalism

  • Realism – stories present the world as it really is (like a photo)

  • Plots drawn from details of everyday life and uses dialect

  • Focus on central character (plain everyday people) who deals with a moral struggle

  • Usually internal struggle

  • Naturalism is outgrowth of Realism.

  • Presents world like a photo and uses dialect

  • Not as interested in individual struggle, but larger forces that control people (war, poverty, slavery,environment)

  • More likely to deal with the extraordinary

  • Grim tone


  • Romantics – a god

  • Realists – simply a person

  • Naturalists – a helpless object


  • Their writing was regional, emphasizing specific geographic settings and made use of the speech and manners of the people that live in that region.

  • In the face of modernization, people feared the loss of traditions and folk ways, so writers set their stories in specific American regions.

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